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December 03, 2018

Renowned Black Panther mural in Los Angeles defaced with swastikas

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A famous mural in the African American community was found defaced with swastikas last week. The police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

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Located on Crenshaw Boulevard in South Los Angeles is a two-block-long mural entitled "Our Mighty Contribution." The artwork celebrates prominent African American figures and their historical contributions and has been a source of pride in the black community since its completion in 2002. Martin Luther King, Jr., Louis Armstrong, and Harriet Tubman are some of the personalities immortalized with the project.

“...These are swastikas on Black faces. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

Last Thursday, residents woke to see four swastikas drawn over the faces of female Black Panther members depicted as part of the mural. Jasmyne Cannick, a strategist and political commentator, was alerted to the scene where she posted a video of the vandalism on Twitter.

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“This wall is our history, and it’s a source of pride in our community. It tells our story,” said Cannick. “It’s just absolutely a travesty. It’s devastating. It is upsetting. We can’t stand for this.”

She also told the Los Angeles Times:

“People just have always had a lot of respect for that mural and what it represented in the community so even though this is a city like full of graffiti, that mural was usually untouchable. For a community that already feels like it’s being pushed out, and we have very little left around here, that wall is kind of a big deal.”

Cannick immediately reported the damage to the Police, and although no arrest has been made, the Los Angeles Police Department officials told KNBC that investigators are looking for witnesses and possible surveillance camera footage.

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THE ARTIST'S PAIN

Enkone Goodlow, the artist who painted the defaced portion, went over to the spot to paint over the swastikas that same Thursday. The LA-based artist told CNN:

"I was hurt because that portion of the mural has never been defaced."

Goodlow added that he feels more terrible because he thought the Black Panthers were highly misunderstood.

“A lot of people thought that they were a hate group and that they had a disdain hate for whites," said the 45-year-old. "The only thing that the Black Panthers had problems with, was hate itself."

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The Black Panther movement was started in the 1960s by Huey Newton, to monitor the activities of the police especially as regards police brutality against African American communities.

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JOINT ATTACK

Congresswoman Karen Bass also took to social media to condemn the act of vandalism. She tweeted:

“When people think of racism like this, they think about some far-off time in some far-off land. But this is today, in South Los Angeles, on Crenshaw. These are swastikas on Black faces. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

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BLACK PANTHER MIX-UP

There’s been a lot of hatred targeted at the Black Panthers in recent times. Last month, we reported the story of a store worker that was asked to retake his Employee-Of-The-Month photo after a customer reported him for wearing a “Black Panther” T-shirt.

The staff, in this case, was wearing a shirt inspired by the Marvel comic character, but the customer reported him because he thought it referred to the political movement.

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